NEW: Shooters World “Precision” Extruded Propellant: Part 1

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There’s a brand new propellant on the market that claims to be equivalent to Hodgdon’s Varget, maybe better… READ MORE

PLUS! A Special Offer at the end of the article!

precision powder

by Ken Johnson, Shooters World

Beat Varget? It couldn’t be done. After all, THAT powder has got just about the most fanatical following in the industry.

It was a tall order that we placed on our Shooters World designers and quality assurance folks. Much discussion. Much head nodding, and head shaking, finger waving, white-board writing, graphs, arrows, derivatives and integrals, shoulder shrugging…and time. Much, much time. Trial after trial. Improvement after improvement. That was back in 2014 that we made the first appeal for this powder, this technology, and this burn speed.

We had tasked our manufacturer with the creation of a propellant that would out-perform Varget®. We wanted the same burn speed. We wanted the same density. We wanted easier and more consistent volumetric charging. But most importantly, we wanted superior ignition, and superior temperature insensitivity. We wanted it more accurate.

Shooters World Precision
Shooters World Precision
varget
Hodgdon Varget

Since receiving the early samples of this propellant, and our first production lot, I have made it my A-number-one objective to proof this propellant. If my personal name was to be associated with it, it had to be very, very right.

After what seemed like an eternity, made even longer by my eagerness to get my hands on this new propellant, I have run it through many cartridges. I have charged with it through numerous meters. I have run it at temperatures ranging from -65F to +165F. I have shot it for accuracy. Repeatedly, I have compared it directly to Varget®.

As I reviewed the published charge weights, velocities, and pressures of Precision and compared them to Varget®, there’s very similar performance. When I was directly comparing charge-for-charge, and load-length-to-load length, I found in numerous cartridges and bullet combinations that my ballistic results were within 25 fps of the published Varget® data. Same charge weight, similar pressure. Same charge weight, similar loading density.

That said, keep in mind that I’m an accuracy nut, and I’m not exactly one to follow the herd. I’m an Olympic shooter, and an Internal Ballistic Engineer. I don’t arbitrarily assign a cartridge overall length. If the goal is accuracy, I purposefully set each and every one.

precision testing
Testing has been extensive! Look closely at the chronograph display, and this is why I’m saying what I’m saying about how good this new propellant is!

And as you may know, cartridge overall length (COAL) can and does affect the pressure/charge weight/velocity relationship. It also affects accuracy, efficiency, and barrel life. So, I take it seriously.

One of the advantages of handloading is being able to define your own load length. Knowing this, we further assist the handloader by publishing resultant pressures, velocities, and charge weights, when a specific projectile is positioned very close to the optimal location. Why? Because it’s all about hitting the target. FIRST you’ve got to hit the target, only then you should concern yourself with velocity.

Our load lengths are purposeful. And because of that, as well the inherent (small, but significant) variations in testing results from barrel-to-barrel, our data is not an exact match to that data published by other companies. But rest assured, if you’ve got a SAAMI or NATO chamber, know that Shooters World reloading data is optimized for your chamber and/or your system. If you’ve got a European CIP chamber, know that we also support those chambers and cartridges with European load data too!

Some folks believe that “Temperature Sensitivity” is something that you sprinkle into propellant as it’s being made, like an ingredient. I’m here to tell you, there ain’t no “throw a couple scoops of Insensitivity-Pixie-Dust into the powder vat,” any more than there’s laces for your trigger shoe. Nope. Temperature insensitivity has everything to do with how the propellant burns before the system hits max pressure. That’s it. That’s the secret. And there’s no “secret sauce” that is going to change that fundamental principle.

precision propellant graph
Actual temperature data fired in .308 Winchester/168 Sierra MatchKing at various temperatures against Varget.

In validating Precision against Varget®, we used this fundamental principle in our testing. We took both Varget® and Precision out of their intended “happy place” and forced them to perform in numerous environments where they should fail. These methodologies will remain proprietary to Shooters World. But please understand that our boastful claims of superior temperature insensitivity and velocity standard deviation are founded on real-world results in overly demanding environments.

And it’s this combination of know-how, propellant technology, and shooter-to-shooter empathy that makes us different. We shoot. And we know shooting. All the load building work we do is tedious, but through virtuous and diligent work, we hope you find our products, services, and data the best.

shooters world logo

Want to give it a try, and skip paying the HAZMAT? Just buy 4lbs of ANY Shooters World Powder, and get FREE HAZMAT on your ENTIRE ORDER!

Check it out HERE at Midsouth

ken johnson

About the author: Ken Johnson works with Shooters World in the capacity of Ballistics Managing Partner, Laboratory Manager, and Ballistician. In addition, Ken has had a long and distinguished career as a championship shooter both with the USAMU and USA Olympic Team, having won numerous gold, silver, and bronze medals in the Pan American Games, World Championship, and other international events, as well as national championships at Camp Perry. 

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24 thoughts on “NEW: Shooters World “Precision” Extruded Propellant: Part 1”

  1. It is good to know there is a powder comparable to Varget. I would like to try the Shooters World powders, but I haven’t seen a manual yet. Once that is available I will get some of it.

  2. Your graph suggests that the powder sensitivity is identical between 50 and 125. Your powder has an advantage at 165 degrees but no one shoots at 165 degrees, therefore you have manufactured a powder that parallels target but at a lower velocity. No sour grapes here as I don’t use target.
    Jerry Cook

    1. Chamber temp in longer strings of fire can make the upper temp range more important due to the ammo heating while in the chamber.

    1. well, price is about the same $170 for 8 pounds at Midsouth supply.
      So, how long has “LOVEX” been in business? (the powder producers)

      1. Lovex has been in business since the 1920’s. As far as price, Midsouth is waiving the hazmat fee with a purchase of 4# or more of these powders.

  3. One of the most typical and persistent complaints I hear
    about Varget is the variable from one production date to
    another. My personal experience with this problem has been
    2 full grains of powder. In other words, lets say my load was
    46.0 grains of Varget for a specific weight/design/manufacture.
    Opening a “new” 8lb container and bingo, pressures signs
    everywhere. Had to reduce two full grains of the “new” batch
    to produce the previous level of accuracy and muzzle velocity.
    With the introduction of the new IMR powders, I’ve switched
    where I can get close to the velocity, and usually improve on the accuracy.

  4. You simply have to get much more reloading data available for these powders over a wider range of cartridges and bullet weights. Until then they will languish and that would be a shame.

  5. Very good marketing advertisement. All hype and no technical data, no comparison of standard deviation, no comparison of group sizes, no mention of accuracy vs accuracy. There is nothing in this marketing sheet to suggest Shooters World actually outperforms Varget. Is that information to follow?

  6. I really don’t understand the exuberance over varget. RE 16 and H4350 seem to give superior accuracy and velocities without the pressures in mid-size cartridges (6.5CM) while H4895 consistently out perform varget in .223 heavy bullets.
    If it gives similar velocities as Varget; keep it!!!!!!!

  7. I guess I’m missing something in this article! The graph shows the new powder as “close” to Varget! The article also says the price is about the same! Why would I buy something “close, but not as good” if they’re both the same price?

  8. Good stuff!! As a retired range instructor, I am using a few different ones; love all their results and COST!! The *VARMINT* powder in .223 has super velocities while maintaining accuracy! Up to the point of “soft point” varmint loads, burn up, needing to use ballistic tips to handle the speed! Grouping 1 1/2″ at 200 yards, OFF A BI-POD! Enjoy!!

  9. HI Ken, I could use a good combination bullet & powder for my M700, 25-06 w/K&P barrel. I also will purchase one mere case of Tenex, before I give it up.Any clues to a lot number ? Jim Westgate is still shooting benchrest. I spend 3 months each winter near him in Lillian Al. Still a member at Ames. Chuck Cannon

    1. Hi Chuck! So glad to hear you’re well! I hear you about the .25-06. That’ll be one of our next test barrels.

  10. I have not seen any load data for the 25-06.
    This is a great deer round as is the .257 Roberts .
    Is more data to come.
    Thank you
    Mike Potts

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